KARACHI: British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner said that he was waiting for the England team’s tour to Pakistan since he arrived in the country as a diplomat.
In an exclusive interview with Geo.tv on the sidelines of the first T20I between Pakistan and England at the National Stadium Karachi, Turner said that both countries have been through difficult times recently and hoped that cricket lifts everyone up.
“I couldn’t be happier, 17 years. We’ve been waiting after three years of hard work. I said when I arrived in Pakistan three years ago, I wanted to bring them back. A lot of people have helped make that happen. Huge credit to the PCB for all their work and the ECB, both cricket boards have been fantastic. So, I really couldn’t be happier for both countries today,” he said when asked about his excitement about this series.
“It’s been a difficult few weeks for both countries. Following flood devastations in Pakistan, the proceeds from tonight’s game will go for relief, for which the England team have also donated. So that’s a big moment. And of course, in the UK we’ve lost our queen, Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II. So I really hope tonight’s game gives everyone a big lift,” the diplomat added.
The British High Commissioner also said that cricket unites nations and the England team’s decision to donate to Pakistan’s flood relief sends a message of solidarity.
“It’s the cricket that ties us together like so many things. And we really are together at this point in time that is not only difficult in Pakistan but also the UK,” he said.
Turner expressed despair when England called off Pakistan’s tour last year.
He said that his job was to bring all the people together who could make such a tour happen.
“The Pakistan Board, Ramiz Raja, and his team have done a great job to prepare for this. And indeed, the English board, adding on two extra matches. So we now have seven T20Is. It’s a very hectic 10 days before the World Cup and then returning for the test,” he remarked.
Talking about cricket between Pakistan and England in the series, the diplomat said that he is expecting exciting games.
“In a series like this, either Pakistan or England could go several games up. It won’t be over till that last match. It’s going to be a fascinating contest. Both teams are deep. There are a few injuries on both sides. I think the pitches hold up. I’m quite interested to see what happens tonight when the spinners come on,” he said.
When asked who is he supporting, Tuner pointed at his specially designed shirt that displayed England on one side and Pakistan on the other side.
“This is a good question. Let me show you. Of course. I have my England shirts, but just in case things go well for Pakistan. I’m a diplomat. So, I’m covered either way,” he concluded.